David Goldstein - ICANN Launches Pilot Program for WHOIS Replacement


    ICANN has commenced a voluntary program for its replacement of WHOIS, the service that allows access to registration data such as domain name registrant and contact details. The new program is known as Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP) and the pilot program available through participating registrars commenced on September 5.

    The goal of the pilot program is to develop a baseline profile (or profiles) to guide implementation, establish an implementation target date, and develop a plan for the implementation of an RDAP-based solution. Proceeding with a pilot program will provide an opportunity for Registration Data Services (RDS) operators to gain operational experience and for producers and consumers of RDS data to participate and provide valuable feedback. The voluntary RDAP pilot program was initiated at the request of the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group, with the support of the Registrar Stakeholder Group. Interested parties can participate in the pilot as described in the community wiki workspace. The new RDAP is better suited to the modern age. It gives standardised query, response and error messages, it’s more secure, it’s extensible meaning it’s easier to add data elements too, it gives support for internationalised scripts (non-ASCII) in reading registration data and much more. RDAP delivers the data stored in a standard and machine-readable JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format. In short, WHOIS was set up for a bygone era and RDAP is suited to today’s internet and beyond.